Dear Chiangmai Mail,
It was with great interest that I read the letter of
Disgruntled Flyer, published in your excellent newspaper last weekend.
Please allow me to add some of my personal experiences that might give a
fairer impression about this new bread of airlines.
I have used One-Two-Go by Orient Thai (OX) as well as
ThaiAirAsia (FD) various times since their start in December and February
respectively. But before I go into details allow me a general remark about
these new consumer friendly airlines: We should be entirely grateful to the
airline entrepreneurs like Khun Udom (OX) for their vision and fighting
spirit and for giving us the opportunity to find alternatives to the so
overpriced and monopoly-like acting mainstream carriers like Thai Airways
Sure there might be some hiccups and problems at the
beginning of new air services, may it be a full fare airline or a budget
carrier. And I am very happy if an airline decides to rest their planes for
maintenance rather than flying with damaged or not regularly maintained
airplanes. The fact that these budget carriers don’t waste money in
keeping spare airplanes enables them to offer us lower fares.
My personal experiences: first of all let me tell you
that I am totally happy and fully satisfied with the service received from
OX (Orient Thai). From the telephone booking up to the arrival at my
destination and delivery of baggage, it seems to be one of the most
efficient and warm hearted airlines I ever traveled on. The professionalism
of the staff is truly encouraging. Sure there is the language barrier at
certain times, I agree, but the charm and real dedication of OX staff to
satisfy their customer more than compensates for that shortcoming.
I would like to draw a kind of comparison between OX and
FD (ThaiAirAsia), which might help future passengers to choose the better
alternative. The major difference between these airlines is their fare
structure. OX is charging one flat fare for all seats and all flights
BKK-CNX-BKK at 999 baht+ tax, one way (the fare was later raised to 1,400
baht) whereas FD is charging various fares for the same sector, ranging from
99 baht to 2,000 baht. So it is very difficult to budget your travel costs
if you decide to use FD. And be aware, their advertised rates of 99 baht and
600 baht are “conveniently” always snatched up, if they really exist.
At various occasions I called FD’s call center and was
told “Sorry Sir, but that fare is not available right now or for the near
future. But we can offer you a fare of just 2,000 baht plus surcharges!”
On top of that, don’t be surprised if the mentioned air fare is increased
by a couple of hundred baht by surcharges and taxes, etc., and worst of all
by 7% VAT, which is a true shame as airlines do not pay VAT. These 7% go
straight into FD’s pocket. That raised the thought if FD is truly a low
fare airline or just a gimmick ripping of the inexperienced traveler.
If it comes to service on board, sure OX wins me over
again. I received free flow of apple juice, water, soft drinks and refills
as many times as I asked for, got loads of peanuts and rice crackers. Guess
what; on FD I had to pay for every single item I consumed. Draw your own
But then I always give all service providers a second
chance, so I used FD again and I found myself on an Orient Thai (OX)
airplane? After investigating, I was told that both of FD’s airplanes were
down with engine failure (at least not bird flu) and that they were able to
obtain spare airplanes from rival OX. Isn’t that great? At least these
budget carriers support each other and help in times of struggle. I just
wonder how TG would have reacted if either OX or FD would have asked for a
spare airplane ... I think we all know the answer.
I am a very happy Orient Thai ‘One -Two- Go’ user and
will use them whenever I can. Great news that new routes to Chiang Rai and
Hat Yai are coming up soon.
A Happy OX Flyer